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Reynolds, Vol. 7 (Classic Reprint)

Reynolds, Vol. 7 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Reynolds, Vol. 7

Sir Joshua Reynolds was born on July i 6, 1723, at Plympton, Devonshire, where his father, the Reverend Samuel Reynolds, rector of the Plympton Grammar School, initiated him into those classical studies which, later, contributed to the refinement and grace of his pencil. He early discovered an inclination for his art to the dissatisfaction ot his father, who would have made him an apothccarv bv diligently copying the prints that fell in his way, and by mastering and applying, while in his eighth year, the Jesuits Rules of Perspective, and, afterwards, Richardsons Theory of Painting. Overborne bv the advice of friends, the senior Revnolds was, in 1740, induced to yield to his sons preference of the palette and brush over the mortar and pestle; and Joshua was sent to London and placed under the tuition of Hudson, a portrait-painter of more vogue and pretension than merit. Under this barren source of instruction, however, he rapidly overtook his master, who soon contrived to make things so unpleasant for the too promising pupil that he remained in the studio but two of the four years for which he was bound, returning in 1743 to Devonshire, and setting up for himself as a portrait-painter. He settled at Plymouth, where hemet with prompt and unexpected success, painting some thirtv portraits, and finding patrons whose good offices secured his future success. While at Plymouth, Commodore Keppel, to whom he had been recommended bv Lord Edgcumbe, his Hfe-long fi-iend and patron, being appointed to the Mediterranean Station, invited the young painter to accompany him; and he accordingly sailed from Plvmouth earlv in 1749, and on his arrival at Leghorn proceeded to Rome, whence he reported, I am now at the height of my wishes, in the midst of the greatest works of art that the world has produced. Revnolds practice and habit of study during his two years in Rome were regulated by the soundest judgment. Seeking truth, taste, and beauty at the fountain-head, he diligently copied, sketched, and mcntallv analvzcd such portions ot the works ot Raphael, Michelangelo, and other masters as seemed to him to bear most directly upon his chosen branch. He paid for this diligence dearly, for from a cold caught in the corridors ot the Vatican the deafness from which he suffered throughout his life was contracted. On leaving Rome he visited other Italian cities: Parma, where he fell under Correggio sinfluence; Florence; and Venice, where he remained six weeks studying the great colorists upon whose works his own style was chiefly founded. He had now been absent from England about three years, when he began to think of returning. He arrived in London in 1752, and took rooms in St.

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